855. Otocorys penicillata.
Gould's Horned Lark.
Alauda penicillata, Gould, P. Z. S. 1837, p. 126. Otocorys penicillata (Gould), Blanf. E. Pers. ii, p. 240; Biddulph, Ibis, 1881, p. 89; Scully, Ibis, 1881, p. 580; Biddulph, Ibis, 1882, p. 285 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xiii, p. 530.
Coloration. After the autumn moult the feathers at the base of the upper mandible and the lores are deep black ; the forehead, a broad supercilium, the posterior part of the ear-coverts, the chin, and upper throat are dull yellow; anterior part of crown black, each feather broadly margined with vinous; coronal horns black, with pale tips ; upper plumage ashy brown, the crown, mantle, and upper tail-coverts with the major portion of the feathers rich vinous, imparting a tinge of this colour to those parts ; the rump and upper tail-coverts with blackish shaft-streaks; middle tail-feathers dark brown, margined with paler brown; the other feathers black, narrowly margined paler, the outermost feather more broadly margined with pure white; wing-coverts brown, margined with ashy and washed with vinous; primaries and secondaries dark brown, narrowly margined with whitish; tertiaries like the middle pair of tail-feathers ; cheeks, anterior part of ear-coverts, sides of throat, fore neck, upper breast, and sides of the neck deep black, each feather margined with yellowish ; remainder of lower plumage white, washed with vinous on the breast and sides of the body.
Soon after the autumn moult the yellow parts of the head become pure white, and the black parts lose all their fringes and become deep black ; the crown, mantle, and upper tail-coverts become deep vinous, and the whole of the upper plumage and wing-coverts become more or less tinged with this colour; the coronal horns become very distinct and deep black.
The female has no black band on the front part of the crown, the whole crown being streaked with black ; the black on the other parts of the head is much duller, and there never is any trace of vinous or pink on the plumage, except perhaps immediately after the autumn moult; the black patch on the fore neck and breast is somewhat smaller, and the streaks on the upper plumage are more pronounced.
Iris deep reddish brown ; bill blackish above, bluish grey below; tarsi and upper surface of toes (in May) black in the male, dusky in the female ; claws the same ; soles of feet whitish (Blanford).
Length about 8 ; tail 3.3 ; wing 4.6 ; tarsus .9 ; bill from gape .75 ; the female is considerably smaller.
Distribution. A winter visitor to Gilgit, where this species is found at a height of about 5000 feet. Biddulph procured this Lark on the Shandur plateau, where it no doubt breeds. It ranges north into Turkestan, and west into Asia Minor.